Expenses are surpassing revenues at Winneshiek Medical Center.
At Wednesday’s meeting of the WMC Board of Trustees, Chief Financial Officer Lynn Luloff explained WMC is following a national trend, as recently reported by Moody’s Investors Service.
“Fiscal year 2013 was the second year in a row for healthcare providers that he annual expense growth rate outpaced the annual revenue growth rate,” said Luloff.
Luloff explained the trend is being driven by lower reimbursement rates due to more patients moving from commercial insurance to Medicare and Medicaid coverage and health plans with high deductible.
She said while operating expenses of $41,156,000 are under projections and less than net revenues of $41,800,000, they are growing at a faster pace.
Ten months into the fiscal year, the hospital’s net gain is $1,150,030, with April’s number coming in at $156,917.

New policy
In a related matter, the Board approved a patient financial assistance program, which serves “to establish and ensure a fair and consistent method for the review and completion of patient’s financial assistance requests.”
The program was designed to serve eligible individuals who may be uninsured or underinsured.
Luloff explained the program is for people who are financially unable to pay, not those who are unwilling to pay.
“We will always provide emergency care to stabilize patients before we talk about their ability to pay,” said Luloff.
“The message here is we will always work with you,” said Board Member Clark Goltz.

New equipment
The Board also approved the purchase of a video laryngoscope for the ambulance department at a cost of $31,991.
This equipment allows for successful intubations of patients needing to have their airway controlled in an ambulance. Using the video laryngoscope, which has a camera at the tip of the blade, allows the paramedic more flexibility and improved success rates.
Luloff said having this equipment available in a pre-hospital setting, “sets WMC apart from area ambulance services.”